New website

Hello

In case you have found this blog looking for Quilty Pleasures please visit my new website.

Thanks
Liz

 

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Courthouse Steps Pin Cushion Kits

I designed these pin cushion kits to go with my demonstration at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show.

Pin Cushion Kit
Courthouse Steps Pin Cushion

They have sold like little hot cakes, so I have been making up another batch to put in the shop.

Pin Cushion Kits
Available in different colours

Each kit contains everything you need to make the pin cushion, apart from thread and stuffing.

Packed, ready to go
Packed, ready to go

They are priced at £4.25 each, and available from the Quilty Pleasures website now.
I am also selling them wholesale, with a minimum order of just ten, so if you would like some for your shop or quilt group, then get in touch.

A bit of a change…

A few changes are afoot at QP, so I thought I would explain a bit here…

Quilty Pleasures opened early 2010 in response to the lack of places to buy well designed, contemporary quilt fabric.  At that time, the UK quilt shops were still fairly traditional, and to buy exciting fabric you often had to look to the USA.

Outside View
Outside View

The timing was perfect for the current revival of interest in quilting, and fairly quickly I started being asked to run workshops for adults and children.  Word started to spread that I was available for talks, so I have travelled around the South East visiting quilt groups and WI’s.  I then started writing for magazines, which was followed by my book.

The Book!
The Book!

The last year has been quite a juggling act, trying to keep everything ticking along.  Running a shop, talks, writing, designing, commissions, selling online, teaching classes – and that is without being a cleaner, book keeper, merchandiser, marketeer…  However, when my son became very ill at the end of 2014 I felt something had to change – he is well again, but there is nothing like having a poorly child that makes you reappraise things.

So, decisions had to be made… and the decision has been made to close the bricks and mortar side of Quilty Pleasures, and this Thursday 19th March will be the last day we will be officially open as a shop.

Quilty Pleasures will continue as an ecommerce site, somewhere to buy my patterns and kits, a small but carefully selected range of good quality quilt supplies, and to book classes online.  I have been working on a separate website for what I call my freelance work; talks, designing and writing.

A massive thank you to the regulars from the last five years (it really has been that long).  Many of you come on workshops, so I am sure I will be seeing you again, and we hope to be at some events in and around Brighton.

So, I am rather excited about the next phase, and can’t wait to properly dust off the sketchbooks and have more time to create.

Liz Betts Sketch

This blog will be updated with website and event related news, and I have a new website,  www.betsybetts.co.uk which includes a blog of my design based work.

Liz
x

New Year Nod

I would write something about New Year here, however it is the 13th, and the atmosphere in Brighton seems to have settled into the January dark evenings and skint wallet effect, so just take this as a new year nod!

If you follow me on social media, you will know that the last 6 weeks have been a bit of a sewing/working issue as my son has been very poorly, and we have stayed in hospital for a while, so things were up in the air.  He is doing well now, back to school so normal service has resumed. A little bit of sewing got done – I always keep a box of fabric, templates, thread and scissors that I take around with me when I travel and my husband popped it up the hospital.  Hand sewing is my therapy, so did lots of sewing at his bedside.
The piece I was working on currently looks like this…

Hexie work in progress
Hexie work in progress
Close up - hexie wip
Close up – hexie wip

and will not be much larger so I will start filling in the edges.  It started as I had about five rosettes from class samples, and wanted to do something with them.  I have lots of hexie samples, so elongated these, and turned them into a grandmothers flower garden.

We also got a day out in London last week, and got to the Knitwear exhibition at the Fashion and Textile museum in Bermondsey.  Really enjoyed it, lots to see, but as the exhibits were grouped by theme it flowed really well.  It was amusing explaining to my daughter what I had heard about knitted swimsuits on Brighton beach when my mum was a child!  It closes this weekend.

No photos allowed (unfortunately) but took a photo outside – amuses me how the road sign points to the banner.

Fashion Textile Museum - Knitwear
Fashion Textile Museum – Knitwear

To round off my new year nod, my things (not using the r word here) this year are a sketchbook project I am working on from a history book, to work on my range of patterns, and to be a little bit more experimental in my quilting.  I plan to share the work here over the year, so keep your eyes peeled.

1970s Hexagon Patchwork

Lots on one to one tutoring has been going on this autumn at Studio QP.  I think I have mentioned on here before how much I like this side of my work.  After getting the email or call to book the session, I usually have an inkling what is coming out of the bag, but it is sometimes a complete surprise.  One of the things I love about working like this is that I get to hear stories behind the the reason the quilt is being made.  However, with this session I only got the latest instalment of why the quilt was being made, as it was bought in a charity shop and so its first maker is unknown.

It is no secret how much hand sewn quilts get me all a flutter, so this box of treats meant I almost needed a paper bag to breathe into!  Jess, who booked the session, had bought the patchwork in a charity shop in Hove.  There was a lot of unfinished patchwork in these boxes, and she wanted a way to finish at least one of them into something usable.  We looked at the contents of the box, and decided this was the best one to finish…

1970s Hexagon Quilt
1970s Hexagon Quilt

It has lots of lovely pattern and prints, but the whole top is currently rhomboid as pieces have randomly been joined together.  There were lots of tacked hexagons in the box, so we sorted and laid them out to work out how Jess could make the quilt top square.  The prints are amazing – an assortment of clothes and household textiles.  We loved the way it had been constructed, just pieces joined together, individual hexagons, circular rosettes, and random shapes.  There were papers still in most of the patchwork, a very thin paper, most of them from pools coupons and football results.  We spotted a year, 1977, on one of the pieces of paper.

1970s Hexagon Patchwork - Close Up
1970s Hexagon Patchwork – Close Up

The back is just as beautiful as the front, showing the blocks of colour.

1970s Hexagon Patchwork - Reverse
1970s Hexagon Patchwork – Reverse

The second large piece was darker, and had lots of dress cottons.  It didn’t lay flat, due to odd pieces of fabric in non geometric shapes being pieced in.  The fabrics are wonderful though.

1970s Hexagon Patchwork Top
1970s Hexagon Patchwork Top

There was a piece cut out of one side, for another project.  As this piece of patchwork will not lay flat, Jess is planning to do this with the rest of it – to cut into it to make pieces to cover a footstool or something similar.

Patchwork with cut out
Patchwork with cut out

There were also these experimental pieces (I did say this box was FULL of treats!).

P1010907

It was a pleasure to work on this project, and Jess is going to come back when it gets to the quilting stage.  I can’t wait to see the quilt develop, and am so pleased that it did not get thrown away, and was bought by someone who is going to work on it to make something to be used in the home.

 

Textile Tourists in Manchester – Part 2

So after spending the first half of the day at The People’s History Museum (more about this in Part 1), we walked the short distance to the Museum of Science and Industry.  It looks huge, but we only had a couple of hours to spend there so headed straight to the textile gallery.  Luckily (for us) we timed it perfectly with the demonstration of the textile machinery. The textile gallery is well laid out, with the machines being in the centre of the room and slightly lower so visitors can get a good view of them.  The demonstration gave a hint of the noise and dust these machines caused.  I cannot imagine it was a pleasant way to earn a living (unless you were the owner of course!). The demonstration started with the raw cotton in big containers about to be carded…

Mosi
Starting with cotton in its raw state

We then saw the machines spinning the cotton.

Spinning - Mosi
Spinning – Mosi

The cotton goes through several machines to get to the strength required to weave it.  I love this photo…

Spinning - Mosi
Spinning – Mosi

The mule was the machine that really caught the children’s imagination.  We heard awful stories of children working underneath these machines as they worked, and about written evidence of mill owners chaining children to the machine as they kept running away.

Spinning - Mosi
Spinning – Mosi

The last stage showed the cloth being woven.  Lots of gruesome stories here to capture the children’s imagination, possibly the tales of large wooden bobbins flying out of the machines were the worst.  We discovered that mills started putting the windows higher so the stray bobbins didn’t break glass – hitting a worker was obviously more acceptable as it cost less money than a window.

Weaving - Mosi
Weaving – Mosi

The guide was really good, and she answered lots of individual questions after the talk about the technical and social aspects of the 19th century cotton industry.  I was interested to hear that the damp climate in Lancashire was good for producing cotton.  I know a little about dyeing fabric and how the weather can affect it, but not a lot about spinning.  When you see the process, from growing the plant to weaving, it makes you realise that perhaps cloth is not as expensive as we think.